REVIEW: The Summer of the Bear by Bella Pollen

At the height of the Cold War in 1979, a grizzly bear makes a bid for freedom on a small Hebridean island. The Fleming family return to this holiday retreat facing life without their father and under the shadow of his mysterious death. As the summer unfolds, the bear and the children of Nicholas Fleming become inextricably linked as reality and fantasy become confused.

Told from the perspectives of his three children this book is beautifully crafted. Filled with anticipation and mystery, Bella Pollen creates three very different children with varied outlooks on life, their father and the world. As the children try to piece together what has happened to their father, the bear drawers closer and the story becomes magical and whimsical, yet subtly so that the story still feels real and routed in the historical reality of the Cold War. 

I enjoyed the various characters, the portrayal of family life and childhood alongside the intrigue and drama of spies and international politics during such a dramatic period of history. This book was a joy to read, filled with rich description, interesting locations, heart felt characters and plot twists. I would definitely recommend this book, for its unusual time period, its characters and it’s mystery. It’s a very satisfying read and the ending was both surprising and just right…

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